Accepting suggestion of NALSA counsel Gaurav Agarwal, a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramanian ordered the Khandwa Principal District Judge to “depute a sensitive lady Judicial Officer to conduct a discreet enquiry as directed by the earlier order of this Court. A confidential report shall be submitted to this Court on or before September 5 in a sealed cover.”
The 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by the Pali police station in-charge days after four youth dumped her there after sexually assaulting her. The judicial officer’s inquiry is to elicit information whether she got adequate security, legal aid, compensation and services of a counsellor to overcome the trauma as well as sufficiency of the steps for her rehabilitation.
Agarwal also informed that NALSA has already provided the survivor’s family with legal assistance in relation to cases filed against the policeman and others involved in her sexual assault. The directions came on a PIL by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan raising concerns over inadequacy of legal aid and rehabilitation of minor rape survivors.
On the suggestion of senior advocate H S Phoolka, representing the NGO, the SC also sought responses from all states on replication of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority ‘s scheme for empanelment of para-legal volunteers in police stations for missing children. Phoolka said that under the scheme para-legal volunteers have been attached to 50 police stations in Delhi who also provide assistance to survivors in cases under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
On additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati’s request, the SC made the Union ministry of women and child development a party to the PIL. It posted the matter for further hearing on September 12.